Research from website monitoring and load testing specialist, Site Confidence, an NCC Group plc company, has found that e-retailers are under-prepared for the Christmas shopping rush, and could miss out on valuable sales.
The company’s data has shown that between 1 August and 1 October 2010, e-retailers suffered an average of just less than four hours of downtime. Mean download speeds were also found to be slightly higher than most retailers’ targets, exceeding 11 seconds.
Huge increases in web traffic during the Christmas period means these problems are likely to worsen, resulting in lost sales for affected e-retailers, according to Site Confidence.
Bob Dowson, director at Site Confidence, said: “Customers demand rapid access to products online, with minimal download times and quick browsing. Frustrating crashes and sluggish load times can result in customers switching to a competitor, which is only a click away.
“The November and December Christmas shopping season is an extremely competitive time for e-retailers, so ensuring websites have maximum functionality is vital for maintaining sales. Despite clear evidence from previous years, many retailers remain ill-equipped to handle potential crashes, and may be unaware that their websites cannot deal with excess traffic load during the run up to Christmas.
“Retail website functionality issues affect a company’s revenue and reputation, and send its customers into the open arms of competitors. Rigorous load testing ahead of November can help to ensure online retailers have the necessary capacity to cope with predicted periods of increased traffic over the festive period, while website monitoring can ensure that user experience remains unaffected by poor performance.”